DISTANT, Pa. (KDKA) — In the village of Distant and nearby New Bethlehem , Clarion County, every tree is beribboned and flags fly proudly in memory of a lost son, Marine Sgt. Joseph Garrison.
With all the fervor of a small town, more than 600 family and friends filled the Oakland Church of God.
Last Monday, Sgt. Joey Garrison was patrolling along a mud wall in Afghanistan when a roadside bomb exploded beside him. The 27-year-old Marine died instantly. It was his 4th combat tour.
“Freedom is not free. There’s always been a price to pay,” Rev. James Swogger told those assembled.
His casket covered with the Stars and Stripes. Next to it were his combat boots, his weapon barrel down and his helmet atop.
So many memories shared by Sgt. Garrison’s brother and sisters, offering thanks for welcoming their brother home with honor.
“I am so proud to be his sister,” Kimberly Knoll told the crowd, “and to know that my brother paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we all could be sitting here today.”
His fellow Marines called him “Superman Sgt. G” and described Joey Garrison as “a hell of a leader.” There’s no higher praise from the Corps.
“He loved everyone. He loved his family. He truly loved his friends and again, he loved being a Marine,” according to friend Matt Darr.
There was the skirl of bagpipes as the funeral procession moved on to the cemetery.
Sgt. Joey Garrison’s favorite quote was from President Ronald Reagan. It says: “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they make a difference. The Marine’s don’t have that problem.”